Simone2 reads in 2023

KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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Simone2 reads in 2023

joulukuu 30, 2022, 3:32 am

Hi I am Barbara and I write short reviews about the books I read. I mostly read contemporary literary fiction, as well as classics (though not as often as I used to) and thrillers/mysteries. I am a sucker for reading challenges and a fan of the Tournament of Books. I also love reading NBA and Booker nominated books.

I live in the Netherlands and are dealing with “empty nest” feelings right now because both my kids left home for college!

Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2023!

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 2, 3:26 am


1 - Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach: 3.5*
2 - The Night Shift by Alex Finlay: 4*
3 - Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin: 2*
4 - The She-Devil in the Mirror by Horacio Castellanos Moya: 3.5*
5 - Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins: 3.5*
6 - 2 A.M. in Little America by Ken Kalfus: 2.5*
7 - The Loser by Thomas Bernhard: 3.5*
8 - The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan: 4*
9 - My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi: 3*
10 - Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout: 5*
11 - Foster by Claire Keegan: 4.5*
12 - Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez: 4*
13 - Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan: 4*
14 - Babel by RF Kuang: 3.5*

15 - A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay: 3.5*
16 - Familiar by J Robert Lennon: 4.5*
17 - The Violin conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb: 3*
18 - Dominicana by Angie Cruz: 3*
19 - Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au: 3.5*
20 - Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone: 4*
21 - The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings: 2*
22 - Mercury pictures presents by Anthony Marra: DNF
23 - The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini: 3*
24 - Newcomer by Keigo Higashino: 3.5*
25 - The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka: 3.5*
26 - Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett: 3*
27 - Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka: 3.5*

28 - If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery: 3-*
29 - An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder: 4.5*
30 - Erasure by Percival Everett: 4*
31 - The Diviners by Margaret Laurence: 4*
32 - The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan: 2.5*
33 - Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda: 3*
34 - We hebben het over je gehad (Dutch) by Stéphanie Hoogenberk: 3*
35 - Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat: 4*
36 - The Undertaking by Audrey Magee: 4*
37 - Days in the History of Silence by Merethe Lindstrom: 4.5*
38 - De eerlijke vinder (Dutch) by Lize Spit: 4*
39 - Now is not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson: 4*
40 - Broken River by J Robert Lennon: 4.5*

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 30, 2:26 am


41 - Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton: 5*
42 - Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: 4*
43 - Fidelity by Susan Glaspell: 3.5*
44 - This is Happiness by Niall Williams: 3*
45 - Ben, in the World by Doris Lessing: 3.5*
46 - Three by Valerie Perrin: 5*
47 - I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel: 3.5*
48 - Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord by Louis de Bernières: 2.5*
49 - But You Seemed so Happy by Kimberly Harrington: 3.5*
50 - Nobody Gets Out Alive by Leigh Newman: 2*
51 - Big Swiss by Jen Beagin: 3.5*
52 - Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins: 3*
53 - The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso: 2.5*
54 - Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel: 4.5*
55 - The Strays by Emily Bitto: 3.5*
56 - Last Light by Alex Scarrow: 3*

57 - The Gospel According to the New World by Maryse Condé: 2*
58 - We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman: 4*
59 - Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov: 3*
60 - The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi: 3.5*
61 - The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver: 2.5*
62 - Boulder by Eva Baltasar: 5*
63 - Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd: 3*
64 - Standing Heavy by Gauz: 4*
65 - Small Pleasures by The School of Life: 3.5*
66 - And the Sea Will Tell by Vincent Bugliosi: 2*
67 - Whale by Cheon Myeong-kwan: 3.5*
68 - Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta by James Hannaham: DNF
69 - We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride & Jo Piazza: 3*
70 - The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff: 3.5*
71 - The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons: 3*
72 - The Last by Hannah Jameson: 4*

73 - Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil: 2.5*
74 - The Scapegoat by Daphne DuMaurier: 4*
75 - The Bell by Iris Murdoch: 3*
76 - Couplets by Maggie Milner: 4*
77- Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson: 3.5*
78 - Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami: 4.5*
79 - Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch: DNF
80 - The Light of Falling Stars by J Robert Lennon: 3.5*
81 - A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson: 4*
82 - The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng: 4.5*
83 - The Eden Test by Adam Sternbergh: 2.5*
84 - Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis: 4.5*
85 - Yellowface by RF Kuang: 4*

Muokkaaja: Eilen, 3:40 am


86 - The Trees Grew Because I Bled There by Eric LaRocca: 3.5*
87 - The Birthday Party by Laurent Mauvignier: 4*
88 - I am Homeless if This is not My Home by Laurie Moore: 2.5*
89 - Pieces for the Left Hand by J Robert Lennon: 4*
90 - The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson: 2*
91 - Hijab Butch Blues by Lamya H.: 3.5*
92 - Woman Running in the Mountains by Yuko Tsushima: 3.5*
93 - The Worst Kind of Want by Liska Jacobs: 1*
94 - Katalin Street by Marga Szabó: 4*
95 - The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger: 3*
96 - Western Lane by Chetna Maroo: 4*
97 - The Night Country by Stewart O’Nan: 4.5*
98 - Brother & Sister Enter the Forest by Richard Mirabella: 4*
99 - Long Bright River by Liz Moore: 3*
100 - Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld: 4*
101 - Lone Women by Victor LaValle: 3*

102 - Fantasticland by Mike Bockoven: 3.5*
103 - Land of Lost Borders by Kate Harris: DNF
104- All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow: 5*
105 - The Memory of Animals by Claire Fuller: 2.5*
106 - There Were No Windows by Norah Hoult: 3*
107 - Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry: 4*
108 - The Killing Kind by Jane Casey: 3.5*
109 - Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann: 4*
110 - The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng: 4*
111 - Good Night Irene by Luis Alberto Urrea: 4*
112 - Forgotten on Sunday by Valerie Perrin: 5*
113 - This Other Eden by Paul Harding: 3*
114 - Honeybees and Distant Thunder by Riku Onda: 5*
115 - The Passengers by John Marrs: 5*

116 - Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein: 2.5*
117 - The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi: 5*
118 - Het lied van ooievaar en dromedaris (Dutch) by Anjet Daanje: 4*
119 - Our Fathers by Rebecca Wait: 5*
120 - All the Sinners Bleed by SA Cosby: 4*
121 - Pearl by Sian Hughes: 3*
122 - Craving by Esther Gerritsen: 3*
123 - I’m Sorry You Feel that Way by Rebecca Wait: 4*
124 - Prophet Song by Paul Lynch: 3.5*
125 - How to Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney: 3.5*
126 - The Bee Sting by Paul Murray: 4*
127 - The Dead Girls’ Class Trip by Anna Seghers: 3*
128 - A Little Luck by Claudia Piñeiro: 5*
129 - Chrysalis by Anna Metcalfe: 3*
130 - Annie Stanley, All At Sea by Sue Teddern: 2.5*
131 - Free Love by Tessa Hadley:

joulukuu 30, 2022, 3:34 am


joulukuu 30, 2022, 7:16 am

So glad to see you back here! I worry every year that you'll decide to only do Litsy!

Both kids in college . . . it feels both really far away and way too close for me. My boys will be 13 and 10 this year.

joulukuu 30, 2022, 7:41 am

My daughter flew out to Seattle to stay with her dad for three weeks, it's a preview of what the empty nest will feel like, I think. Awfully quiet, but I'm getting lots of reading done.

Welcome to Club Read 2023!

joulukuu 30, 2022, 8:57 am

Happy new thread. Both kids in college is close for me. Another couple years. Love all you read, and your comments about Booker list books.

joulukuu 31, 2022, 2:50 pm

Hi Barbara. I'm glad you decided to join us again in 2023. I always enjoy your comments.
Happy New Year!

joulukuu 31, 2022, 11:57 pm

Good to see I'll get to follow your reading again next year. Mine are both in college, well, one is halfway through his second year and my daughter graduated in December, so she's back home at least a few months. She has a job in her field and so will be looking for her own place in the Spring. It was an adjustment, but a good one because it's wonderful to see them learning to be adults.

tammikuu 1, 7:46 am

>6 japaul22: that is so sweet, thank you. I still spend a lot of time on LT but most interaction is on Litsy indeed, it’s a bit more low key, which suits me better as a non-native English speaker! But I am glad to stay in touch with you!

>7 labfs39: Happy to see you again this year. And you’re right: reading time is the best part of the empty nest!

>8 dchaikin: I always enjoy your insightful reviews too.

> 9 Thank you so much. Wishing you a very happy new year too!

>10 RidgewayGirl: I’ll follow you too, your revisies always inspire me to read more books. And indeed, seeing my kids become adults is a blessing too!

tammikuu 1, 7:47 am

1 - Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach

I enjoyed this book more than many of you but I don’t think it deserves to be shortlisted for the Tournament of Books with so many better ones on the longlist.

But the coming of age story of Sally, who loses her sister and best friend during a tragic car accident, is a compelling one. The only one who understands her is Billy, her sister’s boyfriend and the one who drove the car. The story is emotional yet humorous.


tammikuu 1, 12:46 pm

Happy New Year, Barbara. My kids left home years ago, but the good news is that they come back. :) I look forward to following your reading this year.

tammikuu 1, 1:54 pm

Happy New Year, Barbara. Looking forward to your reading for another year. If you've any tips on dealing with empty nest syndrome let me know so I can prepare - I realise it will only be 5 minutes away.

tammikuu 2, 9:18 am

>12 Simone2: An early first book! 👍

tammikuu 2, 4:20 pm

~waves hello~

tammikuu 4, 2:14 am

>13 BLBera: You are so right, and I am happy for that! Thanks!!

>14 AlisonY: It is! Time goes so fast. Just enjoy and be aware of it!

>16 ELiz_M: Hi Liz - waving back -

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 4, 2:16 am

2 - The Night Shift by Alex Finlay

Two massacres, fifteen years apart. Two survivors, a suspect on the run, police and FBI seeking the truth. All these ingredients make for a very, good fast-pacing read. So many twists. I can’t wait for the next Finlay.


tammikuu 5, 10:13 am

>13 BLBera: I wish mine came back more often, but that's another story—he's a newlywed first-year surgical resident four hours away, so he absolutely gets a pass. But I still miss him.

tammikuu 6, 9:37 am

>19 lisapeet: That is what I am fearing too. That they’ll go so far away that coming home will be an irregular event.

tammikuu 6, 9:39 am

3 - Manhunt by Gretchen Felker-Martin

If there were no other books waiting for me I would have spend more time with this one but since there are a zillion books out there calling my name I read this one diagonally. I think I got the point anyhow. Revenge indeed and a lot of anger. And that repeating and repeating.


Muokkaaja: tammikuu 8, 3:38 am

4 - The She-Devil in the Mirror by Horacio Castellanos Moya

Olga Maria has been killed and her best friend Laura, narrator of this book, must find out who did it. In a manic and chattery account she tells about her investigation in possible suspects and former lovers, and she reveals about corruption and impunity of El Salvador ‘s political systems. As her anger and panic grow, Laura talks faster and faster. It is kind of funny if it weren’t so sad. Thanks for sending me this book >16 ELiz_M:


tammikuu 8, 4:17 am

Happy belated New Year and happy reading in 2023.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 8, 8:57 am

>22 Simone2: I couldn't remember if this was one of the books I sent! Two months later, I bought it for myself for the same reasons -- looking for #ReadingtheAmericas books, it's not often I find something set in El Salvador, the library doesn't have it, and it looked fun.

tammikuu 10, 5:38 pm

5 - Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins

Harriet Ogilvy is a young woman with a small fortune and a mental disability that makes her an easy target for the handsome and unscrupulous Lewis Oman. After winning Harriet's love, Lewis, along with his brother and mistress, sets in motion an incredible cruel plan to get his hands on her money.

A very good and shocking story, not in the least because it is based on a true one from 1877.


tammikuu 10, 5:38 pm

>23 rocketjk: Thank you so much. You too!

tammikuu 13, 4:34 am

6 - 2 A.M. in Little America by Ken Kalfus

Like I read in other reviews I enjoyed the first part of this book. The collapse of the US, the people seeking refuge in other countries, I thought it an intriguing and disturbing premise. However than strange things start happening to Ron, the narrator of the story and I didn’t get if he was unreliable or his circumstances are. Too vague, too disconnected.


tammikuu 13, 8:28 am

Better luck with your next book!

tammikuu 14, 2:47 pm

7 - The Loser by Thomas Bernhard

After piano virtuoso Glenn Gould dies, the unscrupulous narrator (alter ego of Thomas Bernhard) and their friend Wertheimer are free to blame him for their own aging process and the fact they haven’t become piano geniuses themselves. Gould nicknamed Wertheimer “a loser’ and the narrator couldn’t agree more.

Bernhard, enfant terrible of Austrian literature, as usual doesn’t hold back. In this novel too, he pours out tons of criticism about Austrian society, and he seems to mock and taunt both of his friends with demonic pleasure. It is such a pleasure to follow his linguistic brain and countless hyperboles.


tammikuu 14, 6:26 pm

>29 Simone2: I’m intrigued

tammikuu 14, 8:05 pm

>29 Simone2: I enjoyed Old Masters more than I thought I would when I read it last year. Maybe I'll give this one a try too. Is it also one long paragraph???

tammikuu 15, 2:25 pm

>30 dchaikin: >31 japaul22: It is a typical Bernhard book: a lot of rambling, no paragraphs or chapters indeed but it is not difficult and an often humorous stream of consciousness.

tammikuu 15, 2:27 pm

8 - The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

In 185 super short chapters, all based on dictionary entrances, we read about the many phases of falling in love and being a couple. Beautifully written, gorgeous quotes, often recognizable. The book made me smile, nod and think. I hope they’ll stay together forever 💖


tammikuu 18, 4:26 pm

9 - My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi

This book is bonkers! A volcano arises in the midst of Central Park and it seems connected to Mount Fuji. All over the world volcanos are acting up and weird things start happening everywhere. Unimaginable things. I don’t watch many movies but I’d make an exception if this book would be made into one.


tammikuu 18, 4:47 pm

And I am finally starting to get around to visit people around here.

>18 Simone2: Noting The Night Shift by Alex Finlay - I've never heard of the author but it sounds like something I will like.

>22 Simone2: The She-Devil in the Mirror also sounds interesting. I just looked at what publisher brought it to English and I was not very surprised to see New Directions. I really need to explore their back catalog a bit more.

>33 Simone2: I am pretty sure I read The Lover’s Dictionary but LT says I had not (which may mean that it fell in during one of the periods I dropped off recording my reading). I like Levithan though so I probably should just reread it.

>34 Simone2: That sounds awesome! :)

Looks like your reading year did not start too shabby.

tammikuu 20, 3:28 pm

>34 Simone2: That one isn't on my radar at all, but it sounds kind of awesome. And I love the cover.

tammikuu 24, 1:04 am

>35 AnnieMod: It certainly doesn’t! Thank you for taking the time to scroll through my thread!

>36 lisapeet: It’s gorgeously published. Paper and format are neat as well!

tammikuu 24, 1:05 am

10 - Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout

It’s another 5⭐️ read for me, this Lucy. She is just someone I like so much. How she approaches life, her past, her daughters and, very carefully, her maybe new future in Maine during the pandemic. I hope Elizabeth Strout will continue writing so beautiful about her and her wonderful family.


tammikuu 24, 1:13 pm

>38 Simone2: nice to see a positive review. I’ve been a little hesitant to read this (but had read the first 3 in the trilogy)

tammikuu 24, 4:40 pm

>39 dchaikin: I know and it’s a worthy sequel I think. I love the dynamics between Lucy and William, her relationship with her daughters and the setting at the beginning of the pandemic. I really recommend it but I know you were not as enthusiastic about her other books as I was

tammikuu 24, 4:41 pm

11 - Foster by Claire Keegan

Claire Keegan drafts her story so carefully and tenderly that I was pulled in from the start. A father drops his daughter at the farm of an aunt and uncle she hardly knows. She has no idea how long she will stay here while her own mother is having another baby. She is very scared but from the first moments the couple just show her love and tenderness. She learns about life, trust and grief. Keegan manages to do so in as few words and as few pages as thinkable. Perfection.


tammikuu 29, 5:20 am

12 - Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

I recently read only disappointing reviews about this book so I went in with low expectations. I really loved the book though. Sure there’s a lot going on but to me it made sense. I loved Olga as a character, was very interested in reading about the historical injustices committed to Puerto Rico, and enjoyed the romance part and the Latino atmosphere throughout the book.


tammikuu 29, 3:33 pm

13 - Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan

Manny’s restaurant The Lobster has to shut down. Today is the last day it’s open. It’s snowing hard and Manny wonders whether his staff will turn up. Or any customers, for that matter. Yet he still goes about his business like it’s just another day at The Lobster. Very touching and so well-written.


tammikuu 31, 3:34 pm

14 - Babel by RF Kuang

I enjoyed this book more than I expected. In fact it felt a bit like reading Harry Potter to me, with the main character and his friends, college, the teachers and a bit of fantasy. The main difference is that this book’s focus on colonialism, and all its horrible implications. For colonized nations, and especially for linguistics. I enjoyed the latter parts the most, and I learned a lot. A surprising read!


helmikuu 3, 12:38 am

15 - A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

There is a lot of room for interpretation in this book and I really don’t know what to think. The narrator is an unstable 8 year old telling about her 14 year old sister who might be demonized, her suddenly bizarre religious father, her depressed mother, an exorcism and a tv crew who makes a reality show about it.

Also there are many references and similarities with classic horror stories. I kind of enjoyed it, I think.


helmikuu 5, 5:24 am

16 - Familiar by J Robert Lennon

After loving Subdivision I wanted to read more by this author and man, he didn’t disappoint. I am officially a fan now! This one is not as strange as that one but strange nevertheless.

A woman drives home after visiting the grave of her son who died when he was 15. Suddenly everything changes. She is still driving, but another car and she’s the same plus some pounds around the waist. Arriving home her son is still living. What follows is awesome!


Muokkaaja: helmikuu 5, 4:09 pm

>46 Simone2: I also became a fan of J. Robert Lennon after reading Subdivision (which was surprising because I don't usually like books that are kind of dreamy/surreal like that one was). My first read of the year, which I also liked, was Broken River by J. Robert Lennon, which I recommend. I'm really interested in reading Familiar based on your review.

helmikuu 5, 8:35 pm

>33 Simone2: This looks right up my alley! Onto the Wishlist.

helmikuu 7, 1:48 pm

>47 arubabookwoman: Such a coincidence Deborah! I really like his style and plots. Thank you for the recommendation, I’ll make sure to get a copy of Broken River!

helmikuu 7, 1:48 pm

>48 nancyewhite: It is really nice and makes for a great gift too!

helmikuu 7, 1:49 pm

17 - The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

A bit underwhelming. Because it’s shortlisted for the ToB I had high expectations and it’s just a very straightforward story, nothing new, unexpected or original. Enjoyable and with a message but in the end forgettable.


helmikuu 7, 2:58 pm

You've been doing some great reading, that very conveniently for me, dovetails nicely with my own reading. I'm very interested in Familiar and I'll go find a copy. Subdivision was such a weird and ultimately satisfying novel. Last Night at the Lobster is just such a wonderful, perfectly written book. And I also liked Olga Dies Dreaming. It was fun to encounter a book with a touch of frivolity in the Tournament of Books roster.

helmikuu 9, 8:52 pm

You've been doing some great reading, including two of my favorites from last year, Foster and Olga Dies Dreaming. Familiar sounds interesting; I'll look for that one.

helmikuu 10, 9:40 am

>52 RidgewayGirl: I was happily surprised by Olga. It was less of a straightforward easy read than I expected. However, The Violin Conspiracy was disappointing for exactly that reason!

helmikuu 10, 9:41 am

>53 BLBera: Both are very good indeed. I hope you’ll enjoy Familiar!

helmikuu 10, 9:42 am

18 - Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Ana is fifteen and leaving the Dominican Republic with her much older husband to live in New York. Her family expects her to conquer the city and send money back home, but Ana’s reality is another one. It’s a grim life with a touch of love and lightness.

In enjoyed reading it but I think it won’t stick with me for a long time.


helmikuu 10, 9:43 am

19 - Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au

A daughter takes her mother on a trip across Japan. The daughter made an itinerary, filling every minute. The mother follows. She gets tired of the traveling each day while the daughter convinces herself she is pleasing her mother. But they love one another so while they enjoy their time together in a different way and they both are often in thoughts about life outside Japan it’s all good. I think.


helmikuu 11, 10:51 am

You've had some great reading! I have a bunch of those on my shelves, and am looking forward to them even more now. I just put Familiar on my wishlist, too.

helmikuu 11, 3:47 pm

>46 Simone2: Interesting. I've only read On The Night Plain from J. Robert Lennon. It was a slow start but I enjoyed it in the end. For some reason I wanted to read Mailman by him for a long time, but haven't got hold of a copy of it yet.

helmikuu 12, 5:21 am

>59 AlisonY: I haven’t read those two, but I am now hunting for his backlist!

helmikuu 12, 5:22 am

20 - Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone

An American woman wakes up in het hotel in Lisbon and discovers her husband is missing. She doesn’t know the city nor the language, when she set out to find this man who she doesn’t seem to know that well either.
What follows is not a regular thriller but a genre bending one, involving themes of today’s world where all is connected by the internet and the ever present theme of women’s vulnerability (Written about by a man, not bad at all). Filled with twists this boom really made for a great weekend read.


helmikuu 12, 7:49 am

>61 Simone2: I've read three of Pavone's novels, but not this one. My favorite was The Expats, which also features a female protagonist, one who struggles with her decision to trade in her career (as a spy) to follow her husband abroad and be a stay at home mom.

helmikuu 12, 1:27 pm

>56 Simone2: I loved this one, which did stick with me but perhaps because I lived in the Dominican Republic for many years... I saw Cruz at the Iowa City Book Festival, and I loved her new one, How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water and enjoyed hearing her talk about her writing.

helmikuu 18, 10:48 pm

>62 labfs39: I read and enjoyed that one too. What is the third book you read by him?

>63 BLBera: These books must bring back so many memories!

helmikuu 18, 10:51 pm

21 - The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings

I didn’t like this book as much as most others seem to, unfortunately.
The dystopian world never felt even close to plausible, it made really no sense to me.
The second part I caught myself skimming, and rolling my eyes.
Only the third part I did enjoy. Without saying too much, I thought the ending was cool and I loved Jo’s character and friendships.


helmikuu 18, 10:52 pm

22 - Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra

I am not going to finish this one. It is so long and it feels as if I’ve read this story a thousand times before.

I have been very critical about what I’ve been reading lately. I am reading a lot but nothing really memorable. I think I should take a break from contemporary American/English fiction for a while but I probably can’t!

helmikuu 18, 10:53 pm

23 - The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini

Well, a lot happens to Alethea in just one month. A bit too much if you ask me. It doesn’t make the book very believable but I did certainly enjoy it. Alethea is a great character and I am happy with the way things are turning out for her after that month that changes everything.


helmikuu 19, 7:57 am

I've read three books by Chris Pavone. Each one dropped a half-star as I went along; a case where his first book was his best (for me).
The Expats
The Accident
The Travelers

helmikuu 21, 4:19 pm

>68 labfs39: Thanks for letting me know. I will try The Accident I think. I liked The Expats a lot and this newest one as well.

helmikuu 21, 4:20 pm

24 - Newcomer by Keigo Higashino

Such a comfort read again, this second Detective Kawa mystery. Set in Tokyo, a woman is murdered and she seems to have no enemies. Who did it? Kawa has been assigned to the case and his investigation is mainly psychological. No violence, just that typical Japanese serenity.


helmikuu 24, 1:21 pm

25 - The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka

I did it, I finished this book and I am glad I gave it another try. It is really good. A Sri Lankan photographer dies and has a week (seven moons) to try come at peace with his life and his death in war torn Sri Lanka. A typical Booker Prize winner, and a worthy one.


helmikuu 25, 3:40 pm

26 - Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett

Some parts I loved, some parts I skimmed. These are the notes of a girl growing up, discovering her creative self, becoming a writer. The writing is unique, I enjoyed how she writes about herself and about all those books she’s read during her life. The stories she has written and shares in the book are less interesting.


helmikuu 27, 4:01 pm

27 - Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

This book is the debut of Danya Kukafka, author of Noted on an Execution- which I loved.
This debut is another excellent atmospheric psychological thriller. Three outsiders in an average Colorado town are all, one way or another, involved in the murder of 15-year old Lucinda, one of the pretty girls in town.
It’s good! Not as good as her second book, but it’s definitely a pick.


maaliskuu 1, 3:21 pm

28 - If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery

These are interconnected stories about a couple from #Jamaica who move to Miami to to give their kids a better future. Things don’t work out very well. All family members keep struggling with life, relationships and work, and keep having to deal with racism - all the time! The book started out real strong but in the end it became a bit repetitive, despite the subject.


maaliskuu 2, 12:17 am

>74 Simone2: I had more or less the same reaction to If I Survive You. It just took me more words to say what you said!

maaliskuu 5, 2:30 am

>75 rocketjk: I am always a bit unsure expressing myself in English, that is probably why I keep it short! But I am glad I’m not alone in my feelings regarding the end of the book!

maaliskuu 5, 2:31 am

29 - An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder

Auw, such a heartbreaking novel. A boy of 17 has to take care of his little sister when his father is wrongly incarcerated in Cochabamba prison, Bolivia. The kids can live with him in jail but it’s not safe of course for a little girl.
The book is sad but there’s are sparks of light all through the story, little bits of uninterrupted sky. The right book at the right time. I loved it.


maaliskuu 6, 4:59 am

30 - Erasure by Percival Everett

“I was a victim of racism by virtue of my failing to acknowledge racial difference and by failing to have my art be defined as an exercise in racial self-expression.”

This quote by Monk Ellison, narrator of the book, sums it all up. Monk is a Black writer who notices more is gained by writing from a Black, preferably ghetto perspective than by writing what you want, regardless of race. It is an important storyline in yet another impressive satirical book by Percival Everett. Another storyline, about his ageing mother is equally impressive.


maaliskuu 10, 7:03 am

31 - The Diviners by Margaret Laurence

I am so glad I finally picked up this one. The final Manawake novel offers a fascinating dive into Canadian history and introduces a bunch of fantastic characters. We all need a Christie, Jules, Ella and Pique in our lives and a Morag of course. Narrator of this great book and what a woman! She is tough and authentic and a real literary heroine if you ask me.


maaliskuu 11, 9:12 am

>79 Simone2: I borrowed my first Margaret Laurence recently, The Stone Angel. Have you read that one?

maaliskuu 11, 3:21 pm

>80 labfs39: I have and I loved it. It is sort of the Manawakan series too, four books set in the fictional town of Manawaka in Manitoba, Canada. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

maaliskuu 11, 3:23 pm

32 - The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

I can’t deal very well with books about perfect mothers or, in this case, about mothers teached to be perfect. Or what is supposed to be perfect. I guess I could have known but I needed a book to tick-off a prompt for a reading challenge. Also the dystopian part of the book felt so lazily done. Nothing is dystopian in the book except for that stupid school.


maaliskuu 11, 7:43 pm

>82 Simone2: I was expecting something more like The Handmaid's Tale. This felt tepid in comparison.

maaliskuu 12, 11:47 am

>80 labfs39: I read The Stone Angel last summer with my book group, and loved it.

maaliskuu 13, 6:03 pm

>83 labfs39: The Handmaid’s Tale us another league if you ask me!

maaliskuu 13, 6:03 pm

>84 lisapeet: You’ll probably love this one too!

maaliskuu 13, 6:05 pm

33 - Jawbone by Monica Ojeda

This is a dark read about the horror of becoming a woman. Teenage girls doing games , “which are only fun when they’re dangerous”, their teacher being a frightened woman, traumatized and afraid of her students. Everyone is terrified and fascinated by eachother. I don’t it’s a spoiler to say this couldn’t end well. Not my kind of book, but intriguing enough to finish it, this mix of horror and psychological drama. Set in Ecuador.


maaliskuu 15, 3:39 am

34 - We hebben het over je gehad (Dutch) by Stephanie Hoogenberk

A Dutch novel about friendship among adults. Each chapter deals with another friend or group of friends and the dynamics between the narrator and them. Over time so much changes among friends. An intriguing premise but I wasn’t overly impressed by the result.


maaliskuu 18, 2:11 am

35 - Brother I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat

Oh Haiti. What a country, what a mess. This is the story of Edwidge Danticat’s family and their lives. Lives lived in Haiti and in the US. It’s a story filled with love. Life has been hard on them yet love is stronger. A wonderful book.


maaliskuu 19, 7:06 pm

36 -The Undertaking by Audrey Magee

Such a tough read, this debut by the author of The Colony. It’s WWII and Peter and Katherine’s get married while hardly knowing each other. Both are German and believing in their Führer. Which makes this such a hard read. After their 10 day honeymoon he returns to the Russian front, she stays in Berlin, in an apartment left by a Jewish family. Will they ever see each other again? In a better world?


maaliskuu 20, 3:15 pm

Brother, I'm Dying is a wonderful book; I should reread it soon.

I'm glad that you enjoyed The Undertaking. I recently purchased the Kindle version of it, so I'll try to get to it later this year.

maaliskuu 22, 6:34 pm

>91 kidzdoc: Edwidge Danticat is becoming one of my favorite authors. This one is so good again.

I hope you’ll enjoy The Undertaking. I read it because I loved The Colony. Did you like read that one?

maaliskuu 22, 6:35 pm

37 - Days in the History of Silence by Merethe Lindstrom

What a wonderful read. And so sad. An aging couple in Norway live peacefully together after their daughters move out. The husband turns silent, giving the wife much time to think about all the things left unsaid - and their consequences. A sad and poignant book. Highly recommended.


maaliskuu 22, 7:23 pm

38 - De eerlijke vinder (Dutch) by Lize Spit

A family from Kosovo finds refuge in Belgium. Jimmy befriends the family, their son Tristan becomes his best friend. When the family gets summoned to leave the country, Tristan has a plan that can assure them of being allowed to stay in Belgium. He needs Jimmy’s help. Jimmy will do anything for his friend. A great short read.


maaliskuu 24, 4:05 am

39 - Now is not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

I loved this book about two lonely teenagers, finding eachother one summer in the 90s, over the arts. They value what the other adds to what they themselves do and the result is a poster with a strange text, going viral before going viral even existed.
A highly original book, it might very well be my favorite Wilson!


maaliskuu 26, 8:53 am

>92 Simone2: I loved The Colony, Barbara; it was my favorite novel of 2022.

maaliskuu 27, 3:05 pm

>96 kidzdoc: I loved it too, the reason why I wanted to read this one. Did you read it too? It’s completely different but good as well.

maaliskuu 27, 3:06 pm

40 - Broken River by J Robert Lennon

This is such a cool book. A family moves to a deserted house where a murder took place years before. A sex obsessed father, a mother who tries to save their marriage and their smart lovely kid, who is intrigued by the murder. More characters are introduced as is the sleepy town of Broken River, almost ghost town like. The setting, the atmosphere, the characters, the plot, the genre bending: it’s all so good!!


maaliskuu 27, 3:18 pm

>98 Simone2: This sounds interesting. I liked Lennon's novel Subdivision.

maaliskuu 28, 8:19 am

>97 Simone2: No, I haven't read The Undertaking yrt.

huhtikuu 2, 12:45 am

>99 RidgewayGirl: Me too. That’s why I started exploring his backlist and the books I’ve read since are all very good!

huhtikuu 2, 3:24 am

41 - Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

This book! I loved everything about it. The dark subject, the politics, the fantastic characters, the evil, the greed, the naivity. Eleanor Catton creates characters like some of the greatest classic writers did and puts them in an utterly contemporary setting. And then that ending. I lost track of time, am blown away and feel empty now that I’ve finished it. As good as The Luminaries and my first 5 star book of the year.


huhtikuu 3, 2:49 am

42 - Notes on Grief by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Grief is so very personal. Adichie writes her personal story about losing her father and the grief that followed. It’s a very intimate story. Maybe I was looking for consolation or similarities because I lost my father too, but I didn’t really find them. That doesn’t make the book less good. Adichie’s recount is very touching and I still ended up a little teary. Like her I am still “my father’s daughter”.


huhtikuu 3, 11:37 am

Uh oh. I may have to reconsider my intent to not read Birnam Wood.

I was also deeply moved by Notes on Grief, which I read less than six months before my father's unexpected death.

huhtikuu 3, 4:03 pm

I had a bit of a love/hate thing going on with Birnam Wood, but I thought it was very well done and I was never bored.

huhtikuu 6, 3:11 am

>104 kidzdoc: I would definitely reconsider Birnam Wood, I really loved it though it’s a tough subject. I can imagine how you had to think of Notes on Grief when you suddenly lost your father. It must have been so hard. Did you return to the book afterwards?

huhtikuu 6, 3:13 am

>105 lisapeet: Japaul22 had mixed feelings too about the book and I can see why, it arouses strong feelings I think and to me that’s why I admire Catton so much!

huhtikuu 6, 3:15 am

43 - Fidelity by Susan Glaspell

Ruth has left town with Stuart, the love of her life though a married man. It’s a scandal the town can’t stop talking about. This is Texas in the early 20th century. When Ruth returns eleven years later to take care of her dying father, it has consequences for all her former friends and family still living there. One way or another they need to reconsider their perspective on adulterous Ruth, which that makes for very uncomfortable situations.
Glaspell knows how to capture the zeitgeist of conservative and traditional smalltown life very well. The only thing is she takes a little too long.


huhtikuu 6, 12:15 pm

>102 Simone2: I'm so glad you loved this book. I had reservations about it, but as Catton is one of my favorite authors, I very much want her to keep writing!

huhtikuu 6, 4:04 pm

Catching up. I've just read one J. Robert Lennon book. You've reminded me to pick him up again.

huhtikuu 6, 9:22 pm

>106 Simone2: I have not revisited Notes on Grief yet, Barbara. I'm sure that my reaction to it would be considerably different now.

huhtikuu 9, 2:45 am

>109 RidgewayGirl: I had such high expectations after the Luminaries and I am relieved Birnam Wood could live up to them. Catton is a favorite of mine too!

>110 AlisonY: Hi Alison! He is so good, I am reading his backlist and love every single one of them.

>111 kidzdoc: Maybe wait a bit. Be kind to yourself!

huhtikuu 9, 2:46 am

44 -This is Happiness by Niall Williams

Electricity comes to a small Irish parish in the 1950s. The man delivering it is Christy, a man with a mission. Or two actually. He finds company in the young Noe, a boy on the brink of adulthood - with its uncertainties.
To me this book is way too long. I love Niall Williams writing and I was eager to follow the plot but the endlessly adding of details worked do distracting that I found myself skimming pages until the story continued.


huhtikuu 9, 3:51 pm

45 - Ben, in the World by Doris Lessing

Ben is no monster even though people treat him this way. Even his own parents did before he ended up being by himself, searching for love, safety and people like him. This is his quest, which leads him from London to France to #Brazil. There are people who care, certainly, and there are people who make use of him. It’s a sad story and a worthy sequel to The Fifth Child.


Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 12, 5:31 pm

46 - Three by Valérie Perrin

Well I loved it. Every page of it. Just like in Fresh Water for Flowers Valérie Perrin again creates fantastic characters. In this book we follow three best friends in different phases of their lives. I loved all three of them and I loved the various storylines. 550 pages and I turned them all eagerly and full of anticipation about what would happen next. All the stars!


huhtikuu 14, 7:11 am

47 - I’m a Fan by Sheena Patel

A 30-year-old woman is obsessed about two individuals: “the man I want to be with” and a white and wealthy woman with “a manicured Instagram grid”.

The man she wants to be with is a serially unfaithful one, who is also married and is having an affair with the woman she is obsessed with. He holds her at arm’s length, just far enough for her to observe and interpret the toxicity of the situation. She recognizes structures in gender, race and power dynamics which are brilliant described.


huhtikuu 15, 2:37 am

48 - Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord by Louis de Bernières

This is a satirical portrait of what seems to be Colombia, a country tormented by coca lords and an incapable government. Señor Vivo is very critical of drugs lord Pablo Ecobandodo, who in turns wants him dead. By luck, naivity and magical realism, Vivo manages to survive each attempt on his life. People believe he is a kind of savior and start following him across the country.

A so-so read. I kept comparing it to García Márquez and it didn’t stand the test.


huhtikuu 15, 6:28 am

>115 Simone2: I haven't read Valerie Perrin yet - I'll have to remedy that!

huhtikuu 16, 2:17 am

>118 japaul22: You really should. I’m almost sure you’d love her as much as I do!

huhtikuu 16, 4:48 pm

49 - But You Seemed so Happy by Kimberly Harrington

Being a Gen X kid, growing up in the 80s , raised by parents who never worried were you were or what you did. Writing obsessively in your diary to control the passage of time. I often recognized myself in Kimberly Harrington’s book. Also in the main part of the book, about her marriage. Fortunately mine hasn’t ended in a divorce but it is an eye-opening book and reading it felt like time well spent.


huhtikuu 16, 8:14 pm

>120 Simone2: I had never heard of this book and now I'm looking for a copy.

huhtikuu 17, 10:50 am

What a great reading year you are having.

I also loved The Colony and will definitely look for The Undertaking. Valerie Perrin and Niall Williams are authors I would like to explore. I'm a Fan sounds interesting as well.

huhtikuu 18, 4:47 pm

>You’ll recognize a lot if you grew up in the 70s and/or 80s!

>122 BLBera: Yes I am having a very good year! I can highly recommend Valérie Perrin, both her books!

huhtikuu 18, 4:48 pm

50 - Nobody Gets Out Alive by Leigh Newman

I always need to concentrate to get involved in a short story collection.They are often over before I’ve become invested or I get impatient and start skimming to the next one. There are exceptions of course, lots fortunately, but this one isn’t. I enjoyed the setting (Alaska) but not so much the characters or the storyline.


huhtikuu 21, 8:30 am

51 - Big Swiss by Jen Beagin

This is a mostly fun book about the lovely & lonely Greta who falls for Big Swiss, a woman she at first only knows by voice but meets later on. The conversations in the book are often hilarious (esp the transcripts of Big Swiss’s walks with sex therapist Om), the relationship between the women is so well written, as are the circumstances under which Greta lives in an old house infested by insects. The only drawback were the (too) many storylines.


huhtikuu 21, 2:49 pm

>125 Simone2: I am waiting for my turn with this one. It does look fun.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 23, 3:59 am

52 - Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins

An okay thriller. Many twists, which I like, but some were very unbelievable or not worked out well. However, I spent some enjoyable hours with the story about a whole family going missing overnight and the role the best friend plays in their disappearance.


huhtikuu 24, 4:40 pm

53 - The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

Hortensia and Marion are neighbours in a Cape Town suburb. They have in common their age, both in their 80s, that they have achieved success in their careers, and that they are widows. But they disagree about everything.
An accident in which Hortensia breaks her leg and Marion’s house is badly damaged brings changes in their relationship. I was hoping for more and felt a but underwhelmed.


huhtikuu 26, 9:38 am

54 - Still Born by Guadalupe Nettel

In their mid-thirties, Laura and Alina are both sure that they will never become mother, because that implies nothing less than giving up on life and ambition. During the years thag follow Laura’s perspective remains the same, while Alina gets pregnant. What follows is a complicated journey during which both women’s views on motherhood are put to the test as life gets more complicated than they could have foreseen. Still Born is a delicate yet sharp and insightful exploration of motherhood and the complexity of the maternal instinct.


huhtikuu 27, 7:47 pm

I'm glad that you liked Still Born, Barbara; I'll read it next month, after I receive my copy from The Book Depository.

huhtikuu 30, 3:09 am

>130 kidzdoc: A worthy last order from Book Depository... I'm so sad it has closed! I'll trying to read all of the International Booker shortlist the coming weeks!

huhtikuu 30, 3:10 am

55 - The Strays by Emily Bitto

Evan and Helena Trentham and their three daughters lead a bohemian life in 1930s Melbourne. They start a kind of art colony, inviting upcoming artists to live and work with them, Evan being the main avant-gardist artist at the time. The narrator Lily lives there too for a while. One of the Trentam daughters is her best friend. Through her eyes we view how the story unravels as the community and the family fall apart around her. Decades later she reconnects with this past life. Enjoyable and intriguing!


huhtikuu 30, 3:48 pm

56 - Last Light by Alex Scarrow

I don’t think I ever read a 500 pages book in a day before. So this book definitely pulled me in. It’s got a scary premise: attacks in the Middle East lead to a halt in oil production worldwide, with devastating effects. Humanity disappears within days: everywhere there are riots and fights and looting. I wanted to read on and that’s why I give it three stars but honestly, it wasn’t that good and the ending was disappointing.


toukokuu 4, 4:08 pm

57 - The Gospel According to the New World by Maryse Condé

Not at all my kind of book. A man is in search of his origins and we follow him along his journey. The book touches upon themes as colonization and race but mostly it’s about the people he meets. Not for me.


toukokuu 4, 5:47 pm

58 - We All Want Impossible Things by Catherine Newman

This book broke my heart but it’s also a super loving tribute to love and friendship. Edi is dying in a hospice and her friends and family are taking care of her there. Ash is her best friend and she has such a hard time. Reminiscing, supporting, grieving, laughing. It’s messy and beautiful and I loved the dynamics of Ash and her daughters - or her people as she calls them.


toukokuu 7, 3:51 pm

59 - Time Shelter by Georgi Gospodinov

This book has the best of premises. A man creates spaces for people with Alzheimer’s that resemble a certain year. They can hide in the past and feel at ease there. However more and more people want to return to the past, also without Alzheimer’s.

There are many fragmented stories in the book, too many in my opinion, and I felt lost myself at times. So I loved the first half but have been skimming the second half.


toukokuu 10, 3:05 am

60 - The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi

In a Maltese immigrant neighborhood in Cardiff, Wales, Dolores grows up with her five sisters. It’s a hard life with a gambling, abusing father and a mother who is loving but not able to take good care of all six. Years later the sisters reunite for a funeral and Dolores discovers that her truth is not the only one.


toukokuu 10, 3:29 pm

61 - The Mandibles by Lionel Shriver

I appreciate what Shriver (who I usually love) wants with this book: it describes the downfall of the US in a near future: the dollar becomes worthless, the economy collapses, etc. What follows is an exploration of possible answers to and results from the downfall. The family Mandible is just a tool necessary to discuss the situation. But it didn’t work in my opinion. Dystopian fiction is not the best choice, an essay would have been better although I probable wouldn’t have read it.


Muokkaaja: toukokuu 12, 2:04 am

62 - Boulder by Eva Baltasar

I am blown away by this book. In only 105 pages Eva Baltasar writes about love in a way that resonates with me. Love for another woman, love for a child, love for ordinary things like cooking food and working and traveling.
This may sound sappy but the book isn’t. On the contrary, it’s dark and beautiful. I’ve read four books now of the International Booker shortlist and this one’s my favorite.


toukokuu 16, 10:11 am

63 - Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd

I don’t think I ever rated a Persephone with just 3 stars but this one just brought a bit too little. It’s sweet enough story (a spinster falls overboard from a cruise ships, strands on a desert island, is saved four years later and returns to England in heb midst of WWII) but it just felt a bit flat.


toukokuu 16, 4:21 pm

>138 Simone2: I also love Shriver (in fact I'm reading one of her novels currently), but also felt a bit 'meh' about The Mandibles. It definitely wasn't up to her usual quality of writing.

toukokuu 16, 7:52 pm

On the other hand I loved The Mandibles because for an apocalyptic/dystopiate novel, I found it very real and very scary. I felt it absolutely could happen, unlike the worlds being created in other such novels. And I read it well before Trump.

toukokuu 17, 11:53 am

>141 AlisonY: >142 arubabookwoman: I can understand why it can work for you Deborah, it felt very real indeed but to me it went on too long about the various ways to consider a financial crisis. Maybe I was expecting more of a novel. Like Alison, I love Shriver as a novelist. What are you reading by her now, Alison?

toukokuu 17, 11:54 am

64 - Standing Heavy by GauZ

Standing heavy, that’s what they do, the many security guards in Paris. Standing heavy in stores or near monuments. They are from all parts of former French Africa and they watch.

GauZ sketches a spot-on observation of modern Paris, seen through the eyes of three generations of men from Côte d’Ivoire trying their luck in the French Capital. It is witty and poignant and it taught me a lot.


toukokuu 17, 12:11 pm

>144 Simone2: Noted. This looks really interesting.

toukokuu 18, 4:06 pm

>145 RidgewayGirl: It’s shortlisted for the International Booker and I can see why. It’s quite original!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 18, 4:08 pm

65 - And the Sea Will Tell by Vincent Bugliosi

This book is waaaayyy too long. And the author is so smug. Yes he is a famous lawyer and this is a famous and in itself super interesting true crime case but man, was it annoying. I wish it was 300 pages less and written by an objective author.


toukokuu 18, 4:09 pm

66 - Small Pleasures by The School of Life

This was such a pleasant surprise. Each short chapter is about a thing or situation from which you can derive pleasure. It is about time spent alone, taking the time to think of the bigger picture, but also about enjoying and appreciating ordinary things you do or buy or eat. Very mindful and a very good one to start a long weekend with!


toukokuu 19, 7:40 am

67 - Whale by Cheon Myeong-kwan

Geumbok is an ambitious woman with a business instinct in South Korea, Chunhui is her mute and neglected daughter. This is their story and that of a parade of other people and animals coming and going. It’s brutal, sometimes magical, you may like it or not but it certainly is superb storytelling. Reminded me a bit of García Márquez.

With this book I finished the International Booker shortlist.


toukokuu 21, 8:28 am

>149 Simone2: With this book I finished the International Booker shortlist.

Which was your favorite?

toukokuu 22, 4:26 pm

>150 labfs39: my favorite is Boulder, followed by Still Born. I also really liked Standing Heavy and Whale.

toukokuu 22, 4:28 pm

68 - Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta

Okay. Unpopular opinion. Everybody loves this book but I am halfway through and calling it quits. It probably is the language. I have to read out loud to make sense of what I’m reading. It’s been taking me forever that way and it leaves no room to enjoy the story. So it’s me, not the book but I just lost patience and want to read something I actually like to read…

toukokuu 26, 1:15 am

69 - We Are Not Like Them by Christine Pride & Jo Piazza

Two best friends, one black one white, explore the complexities of their interracial friendship and social injustice after a black boy was killed by the police. The book is written by a black and a white author and I was very interested in how they would tackle these subjects. The result fell short to me, to be honest. The book checked off all the points of a “how not to be racist” list but it lacked depth and authenticity. Their friendship felt a bit unreal and immature.


toukokuu 26, 7:50 am

>153 Simone2: I just read the historical fiction work, The Personal Librarian about a black woman who passes as white, and it too was written by one black and one white author. I wonder if this will be a new trend when addressing issues of race?

toukokuu 26, 2:50 pm

>153 Simone2: I read this because it was chosen by my book group and it certainly checked all the boxes for a book club book.

toukokuu 28, 1:56 am

70 - The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

This story about a group of women murdering abusive men, was funny as well as dark. I especially enjoyed the Indian setting, such as Phoolan Devi’s story and the parts about the Dalits. I also liked the dynamics between the women, their conversations and wittiness.


toukokuu 30, 4:59 am

71 - The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons

Thomas dies but has to span half a year before he can enter the real deaths. There are rules though, one of which is to not fall in love or have sex. That would be something to regret. However, then he meets Rachel.


toukokuu 30, 3:06 pm

>156 Simone2: I started Bandit Queens last night - just the first 20 pages - and I'm not so sure. I don't like the writing style - seems like she's trying to hard both to be funny and to get clever descriptors in. I'll read a bit more and see if I want to continue. I've been very willing to bail on books this year!

toukokuu 31, 3:20 pm

>158 japaul22: I felt the same. It did pick up however, after those first chapters. The storyline is good but I can see why you wouldn’t like it!

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 31, 3:21 pm

72 - The Last by Hannah Jameson

This book was unputdownable. After a nuclear war the world seems to have come to an ending. Twenty people in an isolated Swiss hotel have survived and try to find a way to deal with this new reality and with people they didn’t knew before. Meanwhile strange things happen in the hotel. Dystopia, thriller and a bit of horror: such indulgence 🩶


kesäkuu 7, 5:27 am

73 - Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil

is is a difficult book it’s about opium dens in Bombay and sometimes I felt like the author was writing this book while visiting one. I had a hard time keeping up with him and was not sure if I had to follow the main characters or just let it come over me, this portrait of Bombay. I’m still not sure about what I read, but I appreciate what the author did. Not necessarily recommended though.


kesäkuu 7, 6:21 am

74 - The Scapegoat by Daphne DuMaurier

An English professor meets his doppelgänger, a troubled French baron in a French pub. The Baron ensures that the Englishman takes his place through a devious maneuver. The new Baron de Gué is confronted with complicated family relationships and the imminent bankruptcy of the glass factory which the family owns. He appears to play the central role in everything and he bends over backwards to save himself and others from difficult and painful situations.
A great, gothic read!


kesäkuu 7, 8:15 am

>162 Simone2: Your review makes me think that this is a book I would enjoy a lot. Also, the Troubled French Barons would have been a great name for an 80s art-rock band.

kesäkuu 8, 5:28 am

>163 rocketjk: It would! Brian Ferry could be its lead singer :)
The book is great, DuMaurier is such a great storyteller.

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 8, 5:36 am

75 - The Bell by Iris Murdoch

A small religious community in Gloucestershire where people find refuge who try to escape from the real world. The community values virtue and moral codes but almost all inhabitants disobey the unwritten rules which sets in motion various events, all in a way related to the old bell that has been missing from the bell tower for ages. An enjoyable read but it can’t compare to books like The Black Prince and The Sea, the Sea.


kesäkuu 10, 3:39 pm

76 - Couplets by Maggie Millner

A woman (the author I think) is living “her second adolescence — like the second first love”.
The book, written in verse intermingled with sections of prose poetry, follows the illusions and disillusions of this second first love, this time with a woman. The result is sexy and vulnerable and beautiful.


kesäkuu 10, 3:41 pm

77 - Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson

Death is omnipresent in the lives of the Billymil family, three generations of Aboriginals who coexist with the settlers but at the end of town, in the so called Campgrounds. The family is watched by ancestral spirits who look out for them and try to help.
This is not easy in a town where race relations are fraught, and where rapid social and environmental changes have much impact on some and none on others. It’s a very sad read but I have learned a lot about indigenous Australian traditions and I am very glad for that.


kesäkuu 10, 7:15 pm

>102 Simone2: i just listened to an interview with Eleanor Catton on Birnam Wood at the Hay Festival and had ben outing of reading it. Your notes have encouraged me even more, and hopefully I’ll get over my reader’s block that has Ben haunting me for six weeks.
The interview can be listened to in a TLS podcast here.

kesäkuu 11, 1:47 am

>168 kjuliff: Thank you so much for sharing that link! I hope you’ll enjoy the book and get over that reading slump!

kesäkuu 13, 9:34 am

78 - Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

It was way too long since I read my last Murakami. I had forgotten how much I love his writing. How it feels to be drawn in from the first pages. To be transported to a world where a touch of magical realism comes naturally. To a story that raises many questions to which you know you won’t get all answers. To Japan.
Years ago Tsukuru was cut off without an explanation by his childhood friends. In fact he can’t even blame them that much, considering himself not worthy of them. At age 36 he meets a woman who urges him to revisit his past and try for some answers. Loved it!


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 3:59 am

80 - The Light of Falling Stars by J Robert Lennon

J Robert Lennon’s debut novel is good but he has grown a lot ever since.
This one is about a plane crashing in Montana. We follow a few people who are affected by the crash in one way or another. A couple who live nearby, a man waiting for his girlfriend, a survivor. They grow on you and they’re great characters. It’s just that I am spoiled by Lennon’s later works (I just purchased some more books from his backlist)!


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:00 am

81 - A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson

Clara's sister is missing. Clara is 7 years old and, isolated by her distraught parents' efforts to protect her from the truth, grief-stricken and bewildered.
Then a man called Liam moves into the house next door, a house left to him by an old woman he can barely remember: Elizabeth Orchard.

Solace in 1972 is the sort of place where everyone knows each other, there’s only one place to eat, and that one place has a minuscule menu.

In this wonderful setting, the book explores the relationships of these three people brought together by fate and the mistakes of the past.

My first Mary Lawson and I’m eager for more.


kesäkuu 21, 5:04 pm

>170 Simone2: I read Colorless Tsukuru last summer and loved it too. My favorite Murakami that I've read so far.

kesäkuu 24, 7:33 am

>173 labfs39: It is definitely one of my favorites too. I hadn’t read Murakami for a few years and was so surprised about how much I still enjoy his books. My absolute favorite though is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:00 am

82 - The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng

Penang, Malaysia 1939. The young Philip Hutton, half Chinese, half English, meets a Japanese man who will be his Aikido teacher, who shares tons of wisdom with him and who loves him unconditionally. Philip shows him his homeland and Tan Twan Eng is able to captivate the smells, images and aromas of Malaysia in a masterful way. Then WWII erupts and Japan invades Malaysia.
The story becomes one about divided loyalties, betrayal, courage, cruelty and forgiveness. It’s unforgettable and I loved it.


kesäkuu 24, 10:08 am

>81 Simone2: Oh, another one I loved! Garden of Evening Mists was good too. I was curious if he had published a third novel and see that House of Doors was published this year. I will definitely be looking for it.

kesäkuu 26, 8:11 am

>176 labfs39: I loved Garden of Evening Mists too! I already purchased a copy of House of Doors, can't wait to read it but have decided to save it for my Summer holidays!

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:00 am

83 - The Eden Test by Adam Sternbergh

The premise was good and I enjoyed The Blinds so I was looking forward to a new Sternbergh. But oh, did he disappoint me. I found the plot very non-plausible and unbelievable and the character to me felt flat and stereotype. I admit I wanted to finish it, to see where it went with this couple doing a week long kind of challenge in a cabin in the woods of upstate New York, but I finished it rolling my eyes. Glad that’s over.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:00 am

84 - Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis

I just couldn’t stop this reread of Anthony Kiedis’s autobiography. It’s such an honest story about his self-destructive nature. The bigger the Chili Peppers get, the lonelier he becomes and the more he tries to escape in endless, repeating drug trips. I still think I could have saved him 😉, it’s a miracle he’s still alive. And kicking!


kesäkuu 26, 9:43 pm

Which J. Robert Lennon book is your favorite?

kesäkuu 27, 4:42 pm

>180 dianeham: if I have to choose I’d say Subdivision but I also loved Broken River and Familiar!

kesäkuu 27, 10:07 pm

>181 Simone2: I liked Subdivision also. I also read and enjoyed Pieces for the Left Hand: Stories. I will check out the other two you mentioned. Thanks.

kesäkuu 30, 2:25 am

>182 dianeham: Thanks! I just purchased a copy of Pieces for the Left Hand. Can’t wait to read it!

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:01 am

85 - Yellowface by RF Kuang

In Yellowface Kuang handles big topics like the cancel culture, internet trolls, political correctness and racism with ease and charm. She creates a very readable story that nevertheless made my head spin at times. An Asian American writer, writing from the POV of a white women who writes from the POV of an Asian American woman and all the trouble that causes. I love what Kuang did and dared.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:03 am

86 - The Trees Grew Because I Bled There by Eric LaRocca

This book of short stories is qualified as horror but I wouldn’t call them that per se. The stories are dark, for sure, and all are about the depths of human behavior, and very unsettling and intense. Maybe that’s horror.


heinäkuu 1, 8:13 am

>185 Simone2: Horror can be a difficult genre to define. There are so many subgenres, and many of them are completely different from one another. Plus, the edges of the genre bleed into supernatural, suspense, thriller, even crime.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:03 am

87 - The Birthday Party by Laurent Mauvignier

I had no idea what I was getting into when starting this book about 4 people living in an isolated French hamlet, each preparing the birthday of one of them in their own way.
But then two visitors arrive and the novel turns dark and tense. So well written, page-turning even, yet I didn’t want to get to the end and find out how that would be. I will be thinking of this for a while!


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:04 am

88 - I Am Homeless if This is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore

Lorrie Moore does magic with dialogue but unfortunately it didn’t work for me in this novel. It’s practically one long dialogue between a man and his dead lover and although it’s funny at times and poignant at others I was hoping to get through it quick because it was foremost boring.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:04 am

89 - Pieces for the Left Hand by J Robert Lennon

J Robert Lennon’s backlist is still rewarding. This is an outstanding collection of very short stories (most are 2 pages) that manage to pack a punch nevertheless. I keep repeating myself but he really is such a clever and entertaining writer!


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:04 am

90 - The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

Finishing this book felt like working. Three men, two of which are Jewish, are friends and are meeting one another all the time. They discuss Judaism, Zionism, antisemitism, sexism… and all in that sarcastic, self-mockery tone of voice Philip Roth does as well. Plus I don’t think I have ever read as extensively about circumcised penises as I did here. Another favorite subject of the men. It was hard working and I didn’t really enjoy it.


heinäkuu 11, 9:03 pm

>187 Simone2: I had trouble getting into this one, and then trouble stopping at the halfway mark for the discussion over at the ToB Summer Camp tomorrow. Having each chapter follow a different character certainly ratcheted up the tension for me.

>190 Simone2: Oh, I hated The Finkler Question.

heinäkuu 13, 2:35 am

>189 Simone2: glad you liked it! I gave it 4 stars also.

heinäkuu 13, 4:14 pm

>192 dianeham: Yes I did! Thanks for the recommendation!

>191 RidgewayGirl: Glad you’re on the same page regarding Finkler! I am glad I read The Birthday Party thanks to Camp ToB but it was a strange book. It still lingers in my mind but I can’t really make much of it. What did the author want to say with this book? I’ve really no clue. So dark.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:04 am

91 - Hijab Butch Blues by Lamya H

Lamya’s journey is an intense one. As a brown, muslim queer person she has to deal with a lot of hate and prejudices. It’s hard for her to find a place she feels she belongs and can be herself - especially since she has so many questions and doubts herself. The Quran though teaches her, time and again, how to make peace with herself and the world.

Not the best written book but one with a lasting impact and meaning.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:04 am

92 - Woman running in the Mountains by Yuko Tsushima

This basically is just the story of a young single mother, set in the first year after her baby is born. She struggles with combining motherhood and work, she has to redefine her position towards her parents and she meets a man. Nothing much happens but it is so Japanese. It feels like magic.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:05 am

93 - The Worst Kind of Want by Liska Jacobs

I finished it but wanted to throw this book across the room several times. A woman of 43 is solely busy with herself and her looks compared to teenage girls, all beautiful, slender, thin, blonde, with firm breasts, you name it. Then she meets this 17 year old Italian boy and with him the much needed affirmation that she’s still attractive. There is no plot to speak of, and no characters beyond the looks. To me it felt really silly. Oh and the boy couldn’t have a driver’s license since that’s not allowed in Italy until 18. Whatever.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:05 am

94 - Katalin Street by Magda Szabó

The past is never settled in this unsettling novel by Magda Szabó.
The murder of young Henriette in WWII has a lasting effect on all of the three families that had been peacefully living closely together in Budapest until the. Her death is symbolic for all that happens in the book during the war and the communist period afterwards. In their complicated attempts to save one another, the characters are just as likely to destroy one another.

I have now read three books by the extraordinary Szabó and all are so good. My favorite is Iza’s Ballad.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:05 am

95 - The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger

A fun novel about parents lying and cheating to get their kids in the new ’school for gifted children’. It’s recognisable at times, a bit too much Desperate Housewives at times and over the top most of the time. However,I listened to it on audio and that was perfect while doing other things.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:05 am

96 - Western Lane by Chetna Maroo

This is a little book about grief and not knowing how to handle it. No one speaks about the mother that died, instead the sisters and their father play squash. Fanatically. But the silence becomes oppressive and I as a reader was waiting, hoping for it to break. Such a sad story!


heinäkuu 21, 2:50 pm

>199 Simone2: I'm thinking about this one a lot. How understated it all is, where no one is openly talking about their feelings and yet everyone is doing their best to care for each other. I wonder how the novel would differ had it been written from the point of view of one of the other sisters.

heinäkuu 23, 4:18 am

>200 RidgewayGirl: That would be very interesting indeed although they didn’t break the silence either. I have read a lot of mixed reviews about this book but I keep thinking about it as well.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:05 am

97 - The Night Country by Stewart O’Nan

Oh man what a book this is. Suspense building up on every page. And it’s all so sad. One year ago on Halloween five kids in a car slam into a tree. Three of them are killed. Now it’s Halloween again and they are back, for just one day. Floating around and watching their two surviving friends, a parent, the cop involved. I did and did not know what to expect and that was exactly what I got. Another (completely different) winner by O’Nan. Not for the weak of heart.


heinäkuu 25, 7:52 am

What a lot of great reading! You remind me that it has been too long since I've read Murakami as well. I loved Kafka on the Shore.

I recently read A Town Called Solace as well. Mary Lawson is so great with character.

I laughed at your description of the Jacobson novel; my experience reading him was work as well. I think I can avoid any future novels by him.

I loved The Door and have been meaning to read more by Szabó. I'll try Iza's Ballad next.

Sorry to hear about the new novel by Lorrie Moore. I was looking forward to it. I will probably give it a try, but you have tempered my expectations.

heinäkuu 25, 3:57 pm

>203 BLBera: Thank you so much for reading through my reviews. We seem to have very similar taste!

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:06 am

98 - Brother & Sister Enter the Forest by Richard Mirabella

This book has the most beautiful cover I’ve encountered all year. And somehow it fits the story with its delicate trees and deer.
Siblings Willa and Justin
are both so delicate and vulnerable.
While growing up they were close. Their father died and their mother is not the loving kind and they hang on to eachother. But somewhere along the line the balance shifts and Willa becomes a sort of caretaker of her brother. Which she doesn’t want, and neither does he. They keep hanging on, but they’re so fragile. Mirabella’s writing emphasizes this, as does that cover.


heinäkuu 26, 6:25 pm

>205 Simone2: That struck me, too, about this book. That terrifying fragility.

heinäkuu 27, 12:41 pm

>206 RidgewayGirl: Terrifying indeed. I had to hold my breath at times.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:06 am

99 - Long Bright River by Liz Moore

What I expected to be a thriller turned out to be much more about family and the bounds of sisterhood. Set in Philadelphia, where one of the sisters is a cop and the other a drug addict.
It’s a good story and a good book.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:06 am

100 - Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld

Imagine me, meeting my rockstar crush and hitting it off from the start! I HAVE been imagining that and Curtis Suttenfeld brought my fantasy to a next level! I really enjoyed that. I loved the dialogues, the emails, the pandemic setting and both Sally and Noah. No Booker contender I’m sure but I enjoyed every minute spent with the book and these characters!


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:06 am

101 - Lone Women by Victor LaValle

Not sure about this book. Adelaide leaves for Montana to become a so called Lone Woman, a woman tending her own land. Life is Montana in 1915 is harsh and desolate. An interesting setting and group of characters but an additional ghost didn’t work for me. Not sure what it added to a story that would have been good enough without it.


elokuu 2, 2:46 pm

A very belated answer to your question a while back on the Shriver I was reading. It was Big Brother. Definitely not one of my favourites, and I wouldn't recommend it.

elokuu 5, 3:50 am

>211 AlisonY: I’ve read that one too and wasn’t too impressed either. I have purchased another one recently of which I’ve heard good things: Should We Stay or Should We Go?

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:06 am

102 - Fantasticland by Mike Bockoven

Foremost this book is a good try at what could become of us in circumstances as described in this book. Theme park Fantasticland is isolated from the world for weeks after hurricane Sadie hits it.

When rescue finally arrives, they encounter a scene of horror. Reporter Adam Jakes interviews survivors and their stories show us a glimpse of what could happen in those circumstances. When young people without phones and social media get bored and start looking for purpose. It’s scary yet sounds plausible and it’s quite a unique portrait of current times.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:07 am

104 - All the Little Bird-Hearts by Viktoria Lloyd-Barlow

Oh Sunday! She is a character that’ll stick with me for a long time. Damaged by her past she manages to control her life by sticking to some rules: eating only white foods, follow her etiquette handbook and escape in Sicilian folklore tales. There is however her 16-year old daughter who wants more of life. And just then new neighbors arrive. I can’t say too much without spoiling things but it is a book that touched me deeply.


elokuu 6, 11:47 am

>214 Simone2: This sounds good.

I also enjoyed the Moore novel, there was more there than just a thriller.

elokuu 6, 12:14 pm

>212 Simone2: Oh will be interested in what you think of your new Shriver once you read it.

elokuu 7, 4:52 pm

>214 Simone2: I've been seeing that one and wondered about it. I'll look for a copy.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:07 am

105 - The Memory of Animals by Claire Fuller

I am super underwhelmed by this book. Neffy is volunteering to test a vaccine for a deadly virus. While she is undergoing treatment the world outside comes to an end. Fuller doesn’t get into this which I consider a missed chance. The few volunteers left are stuck in the hospital. We learn little about them, very boring. Neffy then somehow can revisit her past, which wasn’t that interesting either. Oh and she writes letters to an octopus. It felt like Claire Fuller was lazy writing this book, as was her editor.


elokuu 8, 6:49 am

>214 Simone2: This is one of the titles that made the Booker longlist of which I knew nothing. Nice to hear that it is so good. Noted.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:07 am

106 - There Were no Windows by Norah Hoult

Claire Temple is a former society lady and writer who is now losing her memory. She is paranoid, delusional, confused and often a pain in the ass to the few people who can stand still being with her. Meanwhile London is in the grip of the Blitz, but Claire mostly forgets the War is going on as she drifts between lamenting her loneliness and fantasising about her former high life.
The book was sometimes funny but mostly very repetitive - which fitted the main character but wasn’t an enjoyable reading experience per se.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:07 am

107 - Old God’s Time by Sebastian Barry

This book grew on me and in the end I wholeheartedly rooted for Tom Kettle.
A retired policeman he lives all by himself in an Irish coastal village. He feels at peace, allowing aging and his loneliness and even giving on to it. Then the past catches up with him and with it the pain. A very sad read but beautifully written and to me, not bleak because of its beauty.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:08 am

108 - The Killing Kind by Jane Casey

That was a satisfying vacation thriller with lots of twists. I kept guessing until the end and I enjoyed the various storylines and it all coming neatly together in the end. Also I loved the setting, the Temple and the Old Bailey in London.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:08 am

109 - Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

This book describes the pain and promises of New York, a city “without history, that starts afresh every day”. On this particular day in 1974 when a man high-wire walks between the Twin Towers. Watched by thousands of people all over the city, from the Bronx to the Upper East Side whose lives will collide on this day and in the time to come. It’s a fabulous pre 9/11 novel and I am so glad I finally read it.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:08 am

110 - The House of Doors by Tan Twan Eng

Tan Twan Eng creates settings and characters like no one else.
I loved the Penang setting again as I did all characters who are each so lovable in their own way. The plot is great too, the sorrow of times past beneath it all.

Tan deserves the Booker Prize, even though this is not my favorite book of his.


elokuu 21, 12:44 pm

>224 Simone2: I loved both of his other novels. Too bad you didn't enjoy this one as much. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. I should have looked for it at the bookstore yesterday. I agree that his previous two books were deserving of the Booker.

elokuu 22, 8:30 am

>225 labfs39: This one is very good too, I hope I made that clear. I will think about it for some time to come. I was just not as blown away as by his other books.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:09 am

111 - Good Night, Irene by Luis Alberto Arrea

The first half of the book I didn’t care much for Irene and Dorothy, two American women who join the Red Cross in WWII to offer soldiers on the front some relief with coffee, donuts and a kind word.
In thw first half, the story didn’t add much to this premise. They were doing just that. I felt the book could have started 200 pages later when the coffee business withdraws to the background and the devastating war becomes central and its everlasting effect on lives and friendships.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:09 am

112 - Forgotten on Sunday by Valerie Perrin

Another 5 star read by Valerie Perrin. This is her debut and it is terrific. Justine works as a carer in a retirement home in the small village where she grew up, listening to the stories of the residents. Those stories, her own past and the present: it’s all woven together so neatly. It made me want to read on and on whole on the other hand so cherished every beautiful sentence and wanted it to never end.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:09 am

113 - This Other Eden by Paul Harding

The setting of the story is very interesting: an island off the coast of Maine, where castaways for generations have build their home. In the early 1900s the authorities decide to make an end to this situation.
I’d have loved to hear more about this island, its history and what happened with the inhabitants. Instead Paul Harding fictionalizes the story but I never felt connected to the characters except for Ethan Honey, who we get to know, but just a bit. The book left me with the feeling it could have been better.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:09 am

114 - Honeybees and Distant Thunder by Riku Onda

All the stars for this wonderful novel about a piano competition held in Japan. We get to know the main participants and can root for the one we’d like to win. All are experiencing the various rounds of the competition in another way and are growing in their music. Music that plays the main role in this novel. I learned so much about classical music, its evolution, the composers, their meaning and the various interpretations. I really loved it!


elokuu 30, 9:04 am

>230 Simone2: Thanks for putting that book on my radar. You make it sound interesting and fun.

elokuu 31, 11:16 am

>231 rocketjk: It is! I highly recommend it!

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:09 am

115 - The Passengers by John Marrs

What a ride, literally. This is the dystopian thriller I’ve been waiting for! Everything seems so plausible in this book where 8 passengers of completely self-driven cars get caught inside them and are told they are being driven into collision with each other. A hacker is telling so and involves the government. All of this is to be followed worldwide. So many twists, good characters and witty dialogue. Read it!


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:09 am

116 - Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein

I am not sure what I just read. A young woman moves in with her brother in the isolated house of her ancestors. She’s been an outsider all her life and aware of it. The local community blames her for all incidents happening to the local animals. The narrator seems to be surrounded by death and decay but why? And what’s her role, her responsibility? I am not sure about what I just read. I am not sure what to think.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:10 am

117 - The Hummingbird by Sandro Veronesi

Another 5* read. I loved Veronesi’s Quiet Chaos in the past and this one is just as good. It’s about a man who we follow through his life which is one filled with sorrow and resilience. It is about love and family and it’s very Italian. And quiet. I loved it.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:10 am

118 - Het lied van ooievaar en dromedaris (Dutch) by Anjet Daanje

This Dutch chunkster won al literary prizes in the Netherlands

Eliza May Drayden, the main character, is already dead when the novel opens in Yorkshire, 1847. The reader comes to know her through the lives of others, and through biographies and treatises about her, for she was the author of an exceptional novel. Very little is known about Eliza’s life, the circumstances under which she died are a mystery, and apart from her novel, the only text she left behind is a notebook containing mysterious drawings, poems and tables.

Inspired by the life and work of Emily Brontë. 'The song of stork and dromedary' is a unique novel which will probably be translated soon!


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:10 am

119 - Our Fathers by Rebecca Wait

This was the kind of book that I kept putting away every few pages because I didn’t want to read on, didn’t want it to end. A book drowned in sadness. The desolate setting of a small island in the Scottish Hebrides. The father killing his wife and children, leaving one alive, son Tommy, who returns twenty years later to the place that has haunted him ever since. And yet. The “terrible beauty” of the island, the awkward kindness of the uncle with whom he stays, his father’s brother. Two men of so few words, yet looking for answers.

I adored every page and am deeply moved by the book.


syyskuu 5, 8:04 am

>237 Simone2: Wait is so good. I picked up a copy of this last year. Thanks for reminding me of it.

syyskuu 9, 7:09 am

>238 RidgewayGirl: I hope you’ll love it too. It was my first Wait but I will read more by her soon!

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:10 am

120 - All the Sinners Bleed by SA Cosby

This was so dark. Cosby is able to combine a very scary thriller with a portrait of a deeply divided community in a small Virginian county.
I don’t know it racial tensions can still be so present in the South, to me it was shocking to read.
A very good read and a fantastic, memorable main character (Titus Crown, the first black sheriff in the history of the county).


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:10 am

121 - Pearl by Siân Hughes

Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this book as much as many others. What I did like was the setting of the “old house”, where a young mother one day walks out, leaving behind her 8 year old daughter and her baby brother.
The book is about the daughter, dealing with the mother who never came back.
It could be so good, but to me it felt a bit as if the author wanted too much, with the poems and the sub-plots. Glad I read it though!


syyskuu 12, 1:41 pm

120 - Craving by Esther Gerritsen

A mother is dying and her daughter moves in with her to take care of her. They are not close however, have never been. So their living together again feels very unnatural and has its effects in both women and how they behave towards each other.
It’s an okay read by a promising Dutch author but there’s no need to run to the store to get the English translation.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:11 am

123 - I’m Sorry You Feel that Way by Rebecca Wait

This is a sad and funny account of a dysfunctional family, and the so very different twins Hanna and Alice. I really enjoyed this one and it is definitely a pick but not as good as Our Fathers. I can’t wait to read the rest of her backlist.


Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 4:11 am

124 - Prophet Song by Paul Lynch

This book started out as a dystopian novel and ended up being the reality of so many people in warzones, and of refugees trying desperately to cross the Mediterranean in hope of a better alternative. I see and appreciate what Paul Lynch means with his book and it’s a scary prophecy.


syyskuu 20, 5:03 am

125 - How to Build a Boat by Elaine Feeney

Jamie is a vulnerable neurodiverse boy starting secondary school. He holds on to his own thruths in this new, sometimes scary and cruel environment. But he does meet nice people too and together they build a boat.
I liked Jamie and his perspective. I also liked the other characters but they didn’t really come into their own. I would have liked to learn more about them. Nevertheless an original, less bleak Booker candidate!


syyskuu 20, 10:26 am

126 - The Bee Sting by Paul Murray

I managed to finish this one just in time for the shortlist and I ended up liking it a lot. Yes it‘s way too long and repetitive and there are an awful lot of characters. I was mostly interested in the family: Dickie and Imelda (their back stories are great) and their kids Cass and PJ. Murray knows how to build a story and the ending is bonkers! It all comes together neatly and reminded me of the younger John Irving.


syyskuu 22, 10:58 am

127 - The Dead Girls’ Class Trip by Anna Seghers

The stories in Segher’s short story collection are mostly concerned with the nazism and the war.

In the title story, for example, a woman imagines herself with her old schoolmates on a class trip to the Rhine. As she scans the scene, she intersperses her descriptions of the children in the years before both World Wars I with the lives they grew up to endure.

A tough read.


syyskuu 24, 12:25 pm

128 - A Little Luck by Claudia Piñeiro

After 20 years Mary Lohan (her new name) returns to her homeland Argentina. She’s not sure how or even if she’ll deal with her past but it’s something she can’t forget.

I can’t even begin to explain why I loved this book so much. The plot even has some weak points and yet Claudia Piñeiro is such a gifted writer, her main character, the damaged Maria, such a wonderful human. It left me breathless.


syyskuu 24, 4:05 pm

I haven't even gotten to Elena Knows yet, but this one sounds more interesting to me. Maybe I'll get to it first - thanks for the review!

Eilen, 3:35 am

>249 japaul22: it's wonderful, both are in fact. I am sure you'll love it!

Eilen, 3:36 am

129 - Chrysalis by Anna Metcalfe

I am not sure what to make of this book. The main character is a damaged woman, emerging again in a new form, physically and mentally. She transforms into someone with total control over her body, in motion, strength & stillness.
Three people close to her tell about her, but just like them, we never really get to know her. This sounds interesting but I am unsure what the author meant by writing this book or what I am supposed to take away from it.


Eilen, 3:38 am

130 - Annie Stanley, All at Sea

Fluffy novel about a young woman making a road trip across England to scatter the ashes of her beloved father. She is grieving, of course, and has been making a mess of her life. Throughout the journey she meets (how convenient!) people from her past who make her look again at her life.
It all felt a bit to smooth for me, even though I loved the roadtrip!